Forward AM, BASF’s brand for high-performance materials and services for 3D printing, has partnered with Shapeways, the world’s leading technology platform for product creation through 3D printing, to offer customers the ability to order 3D printed items online made with Forward AM material. The co-branded website uses Shapeways’ proprietary technology and allows consumers to learn more about Forward AM materials, upload 3D models, get instant pricing for the manufacture of finished products, and quickly and easily place an order. Interestingly, BASF also previously acquired 3D printing service provider Sculpteo as the company seems to be focused on combining its extensive polymer material experience with powerful 3D printing service capabilities.
To facilitate and expedite the creation of finished products, Shapeways will not only produce finished products and fulfill online orders, but also provide the technology to leverage Forward AM’s current network of production partners and service bureaus to create products printed in Forward AM materials. Customer support for orders placed on the co-branded site will be handled by Shapeways, who has helped more than one million creators by successfully 3D printing over 12 million finished parts.
“Our partnership with Shapeways and the use of their technology will allow a broader customer base to create and order high-quality 3D printed prototypes and functional parts online made with our Forward AM material,” said Jim Reddy, Managing Director North America, BASF 3D Printing Solutions. “To help accelerate the use of additive manufacturing at scale, we are focusing on making our high-performance materials easily accessible to consumers while leveraging the manufacturing and services capabilities of our global 3D printing network.”
“At Shapeways, it is our goal to empower large-scale additive manufacturing. Our partnership with BASF enables us to provide the technology to power BASF’s vision in expanding the accessibility of Forward AM materials to more customers,” said Miko Levy, CRO at Shapeways. “Shapeways’ technology and fulfillment services have been custom-built to fit BASF’s business and will be able to connect other service providers to supply BASF with a vast network of manufacturers to offer their materials. This streamlined process will not only showcase these innovative materials but will also enable BASF to accelerate its go-to-market strategy in 3D printing.”
The co-branded website will carry key Forward AM Ultrasint powders and Ultracur3D photopolymers. The first phase of available materials at the site includes Ultrasint PP nat 01 – polypropylene (one of the most used materials in the plastic industry, typically used for serial production and functional parts), HP High Reusability PP enabled by BASF (a versatile, durable, and chemically resistant polypropylene material qualified for HP’s production-grade 3D printing systems), Ultracur3D RG 35 (a medium-viscosity, highly reactive photopolymer resulting in accurate, rigid multipurpose parts) and Ultrasint TPU01 (a high-performing thermoplastic polyurethane which enables the production of elastomeric functional parts). Phase two is expected to include the introduction of at least five additional new products before the end of the year.